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Steamed Chicken with Coriander Stuffing

The humble chicken has not always been regarded as a commonplace food. In the middle of the 18th century the English valued some breeds so highly, such as the enormous Cochin China fowl, that they paid the price of three cows or a small flock of sheep for just a single bird. This recipe requires only an inexpensive roasting chicken. Steaming a chicken keeps it very moist and full of flavour, but you will need a large saucepan or casserole for this dish.
Preparation time : 50 minutes,
Cooking time : 1 1/2 - 2 hours,
Calories per serving: 465

ingredients

serves 4
3 lb (1.4 kg) roasting chicken
2 medium onions
4 small turnips
6 medium carrots
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
Peeled zest of 1 lemon
1/2 pint (285ml) chicken stock

for the stuffing

4 oz (115 g) tomatoes
2 oz (50 g) mushrooms
3 oz (75 g) wholemeal breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons chicken stock

method

1. Skin the tomatoes by plunging them into boiling water for 30 seconds and then into cold water for 1 minute. The skins should peel away very easily. De-seed the tomatoes and roughly chop them. Finely chop the mushrooms.

2. To make the stuffing, place the breadcrumbs in a basin with the tomatoes, mushrooms and coriander. Season with black pepper, and then bind with the lemon juice and the chicken stock. Remove any excess fat from inside the bird, then stuff the bird with the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Peel and quarter the onions and turnips and peel and roughly chop the carrots. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions, turnips and carrots gently for about 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and the chicken stock.

4. Place the chicken on a rack or stand so that it sits inside the saucepan without touching the stock or vegetables. A 6 in (150 mm) loose-bottomed cake tin (without the base) would be ideal.

5. Add the chicken to the saucepan. Cover it tightly, bring to the boil and cook gently for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until the juices from the chicken thigh are quite clear when it is skewered.

6. Lift the chicken onto a serving dish. Remove the vegetables from the saucepan with a draining spoon and arrange them around the chicken. Serve the juices separately in a jug.

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